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Brilliant Bosses: I'm a leader, do I really need to care about my values?

I’m a leader – Do I really need to care about values?

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of people in leadership positions being clear about their values, but I remember being asked about mine some years ago and quite frankly, being stumped. I didn’t really know what they were, or how to work out what they should be.


The first question to ask is do I really need to be able to define my values?


It’s certainly a helpful exercise. If I can define the things that are most important to me in the way that I work, conduct myself and interact with people, it makes it simpler to say yes to the right things, and no to the things that don’t sit in line with my values. In the same way as organisational values work as a filter for decision making, personal values help me to make decisions on a day to day basis and help me to keep what’s important at the heart of my decision making.


When you work, operate or conduct yourself in line with your values, things feel good, they feel right.

How do I go about defining them?

Think about the times in your life when values were at play – when were you happiest, what were the decisions that felt positive and right to you. What were the circumstances under which you were most content, what are the things that you have done that made you most content?

Thinking about these times will help you to identify the things that are important to you feeling satisfied and fulfilled. You can also choose from a list of core values to help you to define your own. Try to choose your top five to ten, and then rank them, which is the most important value for you.


What’s the point?

When you have your list of core personal or leadership values, it will help you to identify choices and activities that are in line with them. It helps you to say no to the things that aren’t the right things for you and to articulate why these are not the right things for you. You will be able to make decisions every day that support your values and help you to behave in the way that feels right and represents you in the best possible way.

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